Radnor Middle School has been nominated for the U.S. Department of Education’s first-ever Green Ribbon Schools award by Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis. The school is the only one in Delaware County to be nominated and joins just three others in Pennsylvania.
The Green Ribbons Schools program recognizes schools that save energy, reduce costs, feature environmentally sustainable learning spaces, protect health, foster wellness, and offer environmental education to boost academic achievement and community engagement.
“We take pride in being environmentally conscious,” said Radnor Township School District superintendent Dr. Linda Grobman. “The wonderful team of staff and students at Radnor Middle School exemplifies what it means to ‘think green.’ The nomination validates their efforts.”
The U.S. Department of Education is expected to announce the award-winning schools on April 23. A presentation ceremony is scheduled in Washington, D.C. for June 4.
The three other nominated schools are A.W. Beattie Career Center (Allegheny County), Thaddeus Stevens Elementary School (Franklin County), and Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (Philadelphia). A total of 47 public and private schools across Pennsylvania submitted applications – the highest number of applications among the 32 participating states and the District of Columbia.
In addition to being nominated as a Green Ribbon School, the four schools have been named 2012 Pennsylvania Pathways Schools and will receive $3,000 awards to further their work on achieving the goals set forth in the Green Ribbon Schools pillars.
Radnor Middle School was built in 2007 with the latest technologies for lowering energy and operating costs, while improving air quality. The school was certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver building by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2011. As the school was built, more than 80% of the construction waste was diverted from landfills and recycled. Recycled materials were used in the carpets, ceiling tiles, counters and tack boards. The floor in the lobby also contains recycled glass aggregate.
Currently, waterless urinals and low flow faucets save thousands of gallons of water during the school year. Plants on the green roof produce oxygen, reduce runoff and lower the building’s temperature. Sustainability is also woven into the school’s curriculum. A “virtual classroom” allows global collaboration and students to go on field trips without fuel. This year alone, students have participated in community stream bank restoration projects, taken part in the Rose Tree Media Hawk Watch count, and hatched native brook trout through Pennsylvania Fish and Wildlife’s Trout in the Classroom program. The school’s 7th-grade Watershed Program has been studying a local watershed through a combination of classroom activities and site visits. Students gather, retain, interrelate, apply and communicate first-hand information about watersheds with special emphasis on what it means to lead a sustainable life. The class also recently participated in the Philadelphia Flower Show (pictured above).
“The Green Ribbon nomination underscores our community’s focus on and dedication to the learning environment for children and our environment at large,” said Leo Bernabei, director of operations for the district.
Radnor Middle School staff and students were instrumental in the application process. School principal Anthony Stevenson, teachers Banny Ackerman, Betsy McIlwain, and John Savitch; and students Charlie Connolly, Ava Cunningham, Emily Han, Arman Hoseyni, Cece Kenneally, Emma Majercak, Emily Monaco, Ritvik Prabhu, Conor Rinehart, Sarah Rosenblum, Sasha Smolyansky, Bobby Subak, Jack Thompson, Richard Walther, Zoe Walker and Grace Wiedman were among those involved.
“It is up to all of us to live up to this Green Ribbon honor in our quest to raise the environmental literacy bar,” Ackerman said. “Doing so will help us become better civic stewards, creative thinkers and problem solvers as we prepare our students to meet the challenges and rewards of the 21st century.”
For more on the Green Ribbon Schools program, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html.